This week I reviewed The FitzOsbornes at War
by Michelle Cooper and it prompted me to revisit one of my old Weekend Cooking posts, Victory through Carrots
. You see, in this book, Sophie FitzOsborne, 18, get a job in London with the Ministry of Food as a way of doing her bit for the war. I really chuckled to myself when I came to Sophie's journal entry for 23rd November 1939 and read:
"...my department is in charge of Food Education. It's our job to inform housewives how to cook a week's worth of meals with only four ounces of butter and twelve ounces of sugar, and to convince the British public that turnips and carrots and brown bread are far more delicious (and patriotic) than steak and bananas and chocolate cake. There is still debate about how we are to achieve these seeming impossible goals, but the plan is that there will be official "Food Facts" articles printed in the newspapers..."
I had just finished doing some work on the Ministry of Food and, as you can see, Food Facts did indeed begin showing in newspapers all over Britain in 1940. The idea was to help women feel that they, too, were doing their bit for the war by being part of the "Kitchen Front"while feeding their families healthy, nutritious meals despite rationing, which lasted in Britain for 14 years.
|Times of London September 5, 1940|
|Times of London November 18, 1940|
Naturally, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and parsnips factored heavily into the Kitchen Front because they could be easily planted in allotments, on top of Anderson Shelters and even in small tubs. And they were never rationed because there always seemed to a good root vegetable crop.
|A woman waters her garden on top of her Anderson Shelter|
In 2010, the Imperial War Museum, London, has an exhibition devoted to the Ministry of Food. Below is a short video by James Taylor talking about the role of the Ministry in World War II.
How interesting! I didn't realize there was a Ministry of Food, but it makes sense - and rationing lasted SO LONG in England! I have an older coworker who grew up in Wales, and she remembers when cakes were 'allowed' again. Thanks for sharing this post!ReplyDelete
Root vegetables planted on top of Anderson Shelters? Fascinating.ReplyDelete
The WWII posters are familiar. "Make Do and Mend" and the "Victory Garden" ones--but I did not know much about the Ministry of Food. Enjoyed the video and your post.ReplyDelete
So interesting! I know that here in the States they pushed Victory Gardens and I knew that food was rationed way longer in the UK than here but I didn't realize there was a whole government division. This is a great post (as always).ReplyDelete
Fascinating post! Thanks for sharing- it's like we're back to that again- lol! Chocolate cake still wins over parsnips in my opinion : ) ~ JessReplyDelete
I learned about The Ministry of Food from watching Jamie Oliver. I love that you were able link this to a FitzOsborne book! I have read the first one and I am about to start the second. I just need to remember not to quote this same section when I do get to it!ReplyDelete
Go ahead and drop your bomb. I'm in the fish queue and I'm not budging!ReplyDelete
That's kind of amazing, isn't it?
Perhaps during our modern day wars there isn't enough sacrifice on the part of average citizens. We don't feel a part of it and aren't asked to feel the pain of war at all.
"Victory Through Carrots" -- I love it!ReplyDelete
Great post, I was going to say what Beth F. said (Victory Gardens and all...) :)ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed learning about the Ministry of Food and the importance of root vegetables in a time of war.ReplyDelete
So interesting! I didn't know that there was a Ministry of Food set up or that rationing went on for that many years!ReplyDelete
I didn't know anything about the Ministry of Food! How fascinating! It is amazing to think about this time period and all the different ways people did their part to help. :)ReplyDelete
I was born after the war, but I can still remember my mum talking about their Anderson shelter. She said that when it rained the mattress floated on top of the water, so I’m not sure that growing a crop of vegetables on the top and then watering it would have been a good idea! Nice way to hide the shelter though.ReplyDelete